Born in Southwest Philadelphia on May 18, 1951, Eric Gregg was a National League umpire for 23 seasons (1975-91, 1993-99). After spending six years in the minor leagues, he made his major league debut on September 26, 1975 at the young age of 24, becoming just the 3rd African-American umpire in major league history, following Emmett Ashford and Art Williams.
During his umpiring career, he worked the 1989 World Series, four National League Championship Series (1981, 1987, 1991, 1997), two National League Division Series (1995, 1996) and one All-Star Game (1986). He was the home plate umpire for a pair of no-hitters, the first by Terry Mulholland of the Phillies in 1990 and the second by Ramon Martinez of the Los Angeles Dodgers in1995. Gregg was also the third base umpire for Tom Browning’s perfect game for the Cincinnati Reds against the Dodgers in 1990.
As the result of his gregarious personality and on-field showmanship, Gregg became one of baseball’s most entertaining and recognizable officials, especially in his native Philadelphia. A host of his baseball experiences as well as a detailed account of his life, from childhood to the big leagues was chronicled in his biography, Working the Plate: The Eric Gregg Story, released in April of 1990.
After his umpiring days, Gregg remained a public figure in the City of Brotherly Love, serving as a bartender at Chickie’s and Pete’s Café, including the restaurants locations inside Veterans Stadium, Citizens Bank Park and Lincoln Financial Field. In addition to his bartending duties, Gregg also spoke at local banquets, made guest appearances on local TV and radio sports shows and served as the honorary commissioner for SportsRadio 610 WIP’s annual Wing Bowl eating competition.
Gregg, a 1968 graduate of West Philadelphia High School, passed away from a stroke at the age of 55 in June of 2006. He is survived by his wife Ramona, and their four children, Eric, Kevin, Ashley and Jamie.